June Wine Club

Domaine Les 4 Vents – ‘Les Pitchounettes’ Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2015

The vibe: Alright I’m gonna say something because this is a safe space and I feel like everyone knows where I stand on this anyway. I feel like a lot of French white wines (and honestly rosés, too) are designed to be really…boring? Maybe it’s because I was just in Provence and Ardeche, where reds make up over 90% of wines produced and are bonkers good and the whites and rosés just literally pale in comparison (with a few stellar exceptions, obviously). So when I find an interesting white it really sticks with me and good news - this is a really cool white! It’s a Roussanne, which is one of the few white varietals somewhat common to this part of southern France. It has this je ne sais quoi combo on the palate; citrus and mineral notes, but also an incredible almond-y, honey, dried fruit showdown that makes me want to keep going back for more. If you’ve ever had Vin Jaune wine from Jura, or oxidative wines, you’ll recognize a bit of that profile here. It’s a really cool one and this is all there is, so I wanted to share it with you special folks. Hope you like it.  

The winemaker: Lucie Fourel and Nancy Cellier are sisters, who took over 3.5 hectares from their parents in 2006. In 2015, they inherited the remaining parcels and Lucie spent a few years as an apprentice with several wineries in the Rhone Valley during which time she developed her philosophy and practices for organic and biodynamic farming and natural vinification. 

The geeky details: 100% certified Organic/biodynamic Roussanne from sand and pebble soils. Aged six months in stainless steel tanks. No sulfur use during winemaking, only after bottling with a minimal dose. Fermented using only indigenous yeasts. 

Serve: Chilled

Food pairing: Oxidative wines and wines with this profile can jive with foods that are traditionally trickier to pair like artichokes, raw fish, and could even pair with richer foods. Anything you’d pair nuts or dried fruit with, hard yes. Think salty, nutty cheeses, fruit spreads, even cooked fruit pairings like pork with apple or a side of chutney.  

Album pairing: Berhana - HAN


Fabien Jouves – ‘A Table!!!’ Rosé 2022

The vibe: Since we’re on the topic of interesting whites and rosés from southern France, we had to keep the trend going for bottle #2. This is a blend of Malbec, Merlot, and Tannat. These are all Red Grapes with a capital R, and they pack some serious full-bodied tannins and richness when expressed in a full-fat red wine. “Tannat” is basically “tannin” with a couple letters missing. But here, these grapes are divvied up and some are pressed directly into white juice (saignée method), with the others seeing medium-length skin maceration. The resulting cuvee is basically a white and red blend of the same harvest, which is cool in and of itself. It also means that you get this incredible juiciness from one half, combined with an extracted, fuller, and complex version complimenting each other perfectly. I recently heard a wine described as “pulpy” and while this isn’t a ~chonky~ lava lamp, it definitely has some chewiness and textural goodness to it. It’s an interesting rosé that is also easy to drink and I love it for that.  

The winemaker: Fabien Jouves is from an old farming family in Causse and became a winemaker in 2006 when he created his first cuvée, “Mas del Périé”, on the highest slopes of Cahors. Jouves’ estate, 21 hectares in the junction of Quercy and Cahors, was selected to highlight the many expression of Côt. Reinforcing this is Fabien’s commitment to biodynamic viticulture that respects “life, plant, man, and the environment.” Following biodynamic agriculture adds strength to his terroir by supporting the whole environment from the vines to the animals.

The geeky details: Blend of Malbec, Tannat and Merlot grown biodynamically on clay and limestone soils and hand harvested. Direct press and skin maceration blended after spontaneous fermentation in neutral oak and cement with indigenous yeasts.

Serve: Chilled 

Food pairing: Seafood, grilled veggies, salad with goat cheese and peaches, grilled chicken. 

Album pairing: Kaytranada – Timeless  


Le Mazel – ‘Briand’ Grenache 2018

The vibe: You’re not going to believe me, but this southern French theme was not planned at all. But I’m not mad at it! In fact, it kind of makes for a cool point of comparison. We have two south-central Rhone/Ardeche wines and a Cahors rosé and they are all so unique! This one in particular is from a fairly legendary estate, Le Mazel. I write more about that in the winemaker section below, but that’s only half the story. Grenache is typically somewhat over-extracted in my opinion, especially so in this part of France, where higher average temperatures ripen fruit quickly and convert all the juicy, refreshing acids to sugar, which then gets fermented to alcohol. Like a lot of alcohol. Legs for days, but not exactly what you want when you’re finally busting out your shorts and crocs combo. This grenache isn’t typical. For starters, it undergoes carbonic maceration, similar to a Beaujolais, so it presents as fruit-forward and less abrasively tannic. But this isn’t a young wine. After 10 days maceration, it spends two years (!!) fermenting to dryness at a relatively easygoing 13% ABV. And somehow, after two years it still retains some lively bubbles that present in the glass, just to keep things spicy. I love it. I love this wine. 

The winemaker: Natural wine legends Gérald & Jocelyne Oustric are the hands and minds behind Le Mazel wines. Gerald is one of a distinct group of winemakers that experienced an epiphany after meeting Marcel Lapierre during the 80s. At the time, him and his father were working family vineyards and selling to a co-op. He pulled out of the co-op and transitioned to organic, realizing his vision of making wine with zero additions. He joined forces with his sister Jocelyne, and Le Mazel was born. Since then they have leased land and experience to emergent winemakers such as Sylvain Bock and Andrea Calek and lead a collaborative relationship with the natural wine producers of the south-central Rhone. 

The geeky details: 100% organic Grenache. 10-day whole-bunch carbonic maceration prior to pressing into stainless steel, where the grapes undergo a very slow, long fermentation sans temperature control. The wine is finally fermented to dryness 2 years later. Bottled unfined, unfiltered, and without any sulfur addition. 

Serve: With a light chill

Food pairing: Pizza, obviously. Also craving a hearty pasta and meatballs. Would also go great in a picnic basket with charcuterie and French cheeses. 

Album pairing: Aura Safari & Jimi Tenor – Sensory Blending





Les Errances – ‘Cartouche’ 2022

The vibe: We’re staying in France, but migrating north to the Loire – Bellevigne-en-Layon to be specific. This wine is a really cool contrast to the Le Mazel. You have a slightly cooler climate, conducive to making lightly extracted, fruit- and terroir-forward reds with great tension and balance. This one is in the funky camp because it has some Volatile Acidity (VA), which in small doses like this I absolutely lose my mind for. Taste that balsamic-esque acidity? It lifts the entire profile and gives it a crunchy, fruity and downright refreshing finish, balanced with a touch of residual sugar to keep it in check. This wine was an instant “yes” from me when I tasted it. If you’re down with the funk, you’re down with this juice.  

The winemaker: Producing organically produced natural wines, Maïté Perrocheau and Warren Truchon founded Les Errances in 2017 after meeting while attending business school. Less Errances translates to “wanderings,” which is.a lovely way to say that there is always more around the bend if you keep wandering down the path. 

The geeky details: Grolleau (70%) and Cabernet Franc (30%). Hand harvested from 60-year-old vines, wild yeast fermentation, matures for 12 months on the lees in previously used barriques, unfiltered and unsulfured. 

Serve: Start with a light chill, let it evolve from there! 

Food pairing: With brambly notes of black raspberry, cranberry and pepper, this wine would pair well with pork rillettes slathered on a buttery baguette. 

Album pairing: Peggy Gou – I Hear You